When the sun broke through the clouds and rose on Saturday morning â€” Dec. 22, 2012 â€” the old Mayan prophecy â€” which was never really a prophecy but just the end of a calendar â€” was proven untrue.
Thousands, if not millions, of people worldwide were convinced that the end of the Mayan calendar meant the end of the world, but the sun came up Saturday morning... We made it.
Jokes started bouncing around social media sites, with most directed at mocking the believers.
One of my favorite Christmas movies of all time has always been the Chevy Chase classic "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," in addition to "A Christmas Story," which is about Ralphie and the Red Rider BB Gun that he wanted for Christmas.
My reasons for being a fan of the latter is because it was shot in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.
I love the shots of Ralphie and his brother as they are sitting on Santa's lap in Higbee's Department Store in downtown Cleveland, just as I did as a young lad many years ago.
My first hunting season since 1996 turned out to be a failure â€” at least if you judge success or failure of a hunt on bagging a buck. But all my quiet time â€” or not-so-quiet-time some days â€” gave me lots of time to think.
And as a writer, I spend plenty of quiet times thinking about how I can turn my experiences into columns, stories and general life lessons.
So, after a full week of thought, I thought it would be appropriate to share with you just a few of the many lessons I learned this hunting season.
â€¢ No matter the setting, sunrises are amazing.
So, what's the deal with sharks?
Sharks have been the feared subject of many blockbuster movies, and even have a week dedicated to them every summer on television.
But I am calling sharks out, because they have become lame in recent years and are no longer the scary king of the sea they once were considered.
I fear that if something is not done, sharks will be talked about in the same sentences as the mighty mollusks, the most boring sea creatures of all.
There were only 79 unprovoked shark attacks in 2010, and only 6 people died as a result.
December 12, 2012.
Today is a very special day, as not only is it a once-every-100-years kind of day, with the next 12-12-12 not slated to take place until December 12, 2112, it's also the last of 12 consecutive years with "perfect" days in them.
There will be no 13-13-13. It just doesn't happen. The next perfect day will fall on January 1, 2101 â€” which will mark my brother's 116th birthday.
So, unless by some miracle I live to be about 119 years old, this will be the last perfect day in my lifetime. And that's likely the case for most of us.
Last week, I wrote the first memorial column I've ever written specifically for someone who I cared for who had passed away.
This week, sadly, I'm writing my second.
Last Monday morning, as my other column was just reaching mailboxes and I was just waking from an early morning nap after some time in the woods, I received a phone call I'd been dreading for months now.
Harriet M. "Hattie" Getch, belovedly known by so many as just "Grammy Great," had gone home to be with her loving Father in Heaven. Her pain and suffering in this world was no more.
My paraphrase of an old saying I think to be true: "Though some only enter our lives for a season, everyone who enters does so for a reason."
This week, I received news from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary â€” from where I attained my master's degree in religious studies â€” that back in October, a woman who had entered a lot of lives and made a difference in so many passed on to be with her Maker.
By the time this paper makes its way off the press and into your hands, I'll already be sitting in the woods beneath an old hemlock tree on the family farm awaiting the arrival of "the big 'un."
Last year, I wrote a column wishing well the hunters who were setting out bright and early to land their prize bucks.
But this year, after feeling the itch like I hadn't felt it since 1998, according to my last valid license, I decided to be a part of the story this year instead of a spectator.
As a man, there just seems to be something deep inside of me drawing me to the hunt.
Over the past few days, my Facebook wall has been covered with posts similar to this one: Day 2 â€” Today I'm thankful for my puppy dog, because he cheers me up when I've had a rough day.
Posts like this one are a part of what Facebookers are calling "30 Days of Thankfulness," an intentional effort, of course centered around November being the month we celebrate Thanksgiving, to remember to be thankful.
Editor's Note: This is the first column in a series that will appear monthly in The Spirit.
If you have lived in Punxsutawney for any length of time, you can remember some of the stores and businesses that no longer grace the downtown streets.
Have you ever thought about how long some of the present businesses have been around?
The research into what is here today and what was here yesterday was a fascinating trip into awareness and a great way to spend a few lazy afternoons in the fall sunshine.